Hitchcock’s “Wrong Man” scenario gets an invigorating French update in Tell No One, a long-winded but gripping thriller based on American author Harlan Coben’s bestseller. Writer-director Guillaume Canet has a preference for awkwardly shoehorned-in pop songs and self-conscious slow-mo pans around characters. Fortunately, such attributes do little to hinder the mounting tension of his tale (co-written by Philippe Lefebvre), which involves a pediatrician named Alex Beck (François Cluzet) who, eight years after his wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) was apparently slain by a serial killer, receives an email with a link to a recent video clip of an alive-and-well Margot and a message to “Tell no one. We’re being watched.” Such a shock is compounded by the cops’ discovery of two bodies at the lake where Margot was murdered, one of them in possession of the key to a safety deposit box containing Alex’s rifle and photos of a badly beaten Margot. Suffice to say, revelations soon begin piling on top of one another, with Canet giddily orchestrating the harassed plight of Alex, who’s suspected of foul play (twice-over) by the cops, and followed by a group of thugs that includes a scary woman who likes to abuse bodily pressure points. Factoring into the overcrowded narrative is a raft of French notables, from Marina Hands as Alex’s equestrian sister, to François Berléand as the detective who comes to believe in Alex’s innocence (a fact that, in one of many debts to the Hitch template, is a given from the outset), to Jean Rochefort as a senator still grieving over the death of his beloved son. Because too many stars is never enough for a crackling suspense yarn, Kristin Scott Thomas also shows up as Hands’s loyal lesbian wife, speaking (as in The Valet) impeccable French that’s far more convincing than the story’s escalating zigzags. Questions of believability, however, are in the end irrelevant to Tell No One, a film whose entertainingly fleet (and sometimes downright harried) pace—highlighted by Alex’s on-foot flight from cops through city streets and across a teeming highway—and enticing central mysteries deliver the tangy kicks one craves from juicy pulp.
- Music Box Films
- 125 min
- Guillaume Canet
- Guillaume Canet, Philippe Lefebvre
- François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, André Dussollier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Marina Hands, François Berléand, Nathalie Baye, Jean Rochefort, Guillaume Canet
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